Comprehension Passage 1

            <![CDATA[<p style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #000080; font-size: 14pt;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'times new roman', times, serif;"><u>Comprehension Passage: Aunt Polly and Tom</u></span></strong></span></p>

On Saturday morning, Aunt Polly sends Tom out to whitewash the fence. Jim passes by, and Tom tries to get him to do some of the whitewashing in return for a “white alley,” a kind of marble. Jim nearly agrees, but Aunt Polly appears and chases him off, leaving Tom alone with his toil. 

A little later, Ben Rogers, another boy Tom’s age, walks by. Tom persuades Ben that whitewashing a fence is great pleasure, and after some haggling, Ben agrees to give Tom his apple in exchange for the privilege of working on the fence. Over the course of the day, every boy who passes ends up staying to whitewash, and each one gives Tom something in exchange. By the time the fence has three coats, Tom has collected a store of assorted riches. Tom ponders that all it takes to make someone want something is to make that thing difficult to get.

Aunt Polly is pleasantly astonished to find the work done, and she lets Tom to go out in the late afternoon. On his way, he pelts Sid with lumps of dirt in revenge for his betrayal in the matter of the shirt collar. He then hurries to the town square, where a group of boys are fighting a mock battle. Tom and his friend Joe Harper act as generals. Tom’s army wins the battle.

On his way home for dinner, Tom passes the Thatcher house and catches sight of a beautiful girl. He falls head over heels in love with her. Quickly forgetting his last love, a girl named Amy Lawrence, Tom spends the rest of the afternoon showing off on the street. The girl lobs him a flower, and, after some more showing off, Tom hardheartedly returns home.

At dinner, Sid breaks the sugar bowl, and Tom is censured. Tom’s mood changes, and he wanders out after dinner feeling wronged and overemotional, picturing how sorry Aunt Polly would be if he is to be found, especially by chance, after being lost dead. Ultimately, he finds his way back to the beautiful girl’s house and prepares to die pitiably beneath her window. Just then, a maid opens the window and tips a pitcher of water on his head. Tom scampers home and goes to bed as Sid watches in silence.

a) Give the meaning of these words as used in the passage:

  1. persuades
  2. coats
  3. showing off            

b) Answer these questions in your own words:

  1. What is a white alley?
  2. How does Tom make Ben white wash the fence?
  3. How did Tom end up collecting an assortment of riches?
  4. Who is Amy Lawrence? Why does Tom easily forget her?
  5. What did Tom try to do to make Aunt Polly sorry? 

c) Write in about 50 words a summary of the above passage.]]>

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